Guerande

The Saint-Michel gate

Guérande (Breton: Gwenrann, literally "white land") is a town in the Pays de la Loire (Loire-Atlantique department) in western France.

"Ville et pays d'art et d'histoire" since 2004, Guerande is famous for its medieval town. It is one of the rare cities to have to preserve his ramparts in its entirety. Guerande, it is also its Salt Marshes and her famous salt, "la fleur de sel".

Understand

Guerande is a medieval fortified town. During Middle Ages, Guerande was the principal town in the estate owned by dukes of Brittany which covered the entire peninsula, the "Presqu'île Guérandaise". Its strategic position at the top of a hill gave it an overview of the ocean and a role as protector of the Salt Marshes.

The town entered a golden age with the last dukes of Brittany, who built its formidable ramparts. The period gave it charm, a picturesque flavour and an exceptional heritage which led the celebrated writer Balzac to describe it thus "Guérande is one of those rare towns to have retained the true physiognomy of the feudal centuries".

Get in

By plane

Arrival at the international airport of Nantes Atlantique : + 33.2.40.84.80.00

Nantes - Guérande by car : 1 hour (80 km approx).

By train

Coming from Paris Montparnasse : 3 hours by TGV

For information : +33 8.36.35.35.35

By bus

Wherever you are in the departement of Loire Atlantique, you can travel for only 2€ per journey.

You can buy the bus ticket on the bus. It is valid for 2 hours. This ticket also enables you to have access to the bus networks in Nantes and Saint Nazaire. Bus timetables

Another way of getting around is Métrocéane . This ticket allows you to travel by train, bus and tram. Each ticket is valid only for 24 hours.

By car

See

Medieval timber framed house

The ramparts (XV-XVI)

In 1343, following the destruction inflicted on Guérande by troops commanded by Charles de Blois, Jean de Montfort demanded that the town be properly protected by improving its fortifications. Work started soon after and continued for more than a century, with the town's architecture adapted to reflect the latest artillery developments. It was not until 1488, or 145 years later, that these ramparts, by then complete, were inaugurated during the reign of Duke François II (father of Anne of Brittany), a few months before his death.

1434 m long, the ramparts are pierced by four gateways : St Michel to the east, Vannetaise to the north, Bizienne to the west and Saillé to the south).

The Saint Aubin's Church (XV-XVI)

One of the main site of interest of the medieval town. XV-XVI century.

Guérande Salt marshes

An area of 2000 hectares divided in two zones, the largest is around the Traict du Croisic and extends over the villages of Batz-sur-Mer, Guérande, and La Turballe. The second is located beyond the “coteau” guérandais and covers an area of 350 hectares which includes Mesquer, Saint-Molf and Assérac.

This area is classified since 1996. Today in the salt marshes, around 250 “paludiers” i.e. salt workers harvest approximately 12000 mt of salt a year.

Brière

It was one of the first natural parks to be listed as a “Parc Naturel Régional” in 1970.

Do

To get some more information, it is possible to go to the Tourist office center of Guerande next to Saint-Michel gate. The website has major shows listed

Visit the Salt Marshes: Many structures offer to discover the Salt Marshes with several types of visits: museography, guided tours on an operational salt-pan, walk on a typical local wagon, etc...

Visit the wetlands of La Brière: The wetlands of La Brière are not like the Salt Marshes. There are many ways to discover this territory but the most popular is the visit in chaland (craft).

Discover the history of the region: Many sites enable you to understand the history of Guerande and its area with the help of museography, exhibitions and many other ways.

Buy

There are 2 marketplaces in the medieval town: the great market on Sunday and the little market on Wednesday (the fishes's market is everyday except Monday and Thursday).

Eat

In Guerande, visitors can find mainly 3 types of restaurants: traditional restaurants, pizzeria and "crêperies" (traditional Breton food). Major part of restaurants are in the medieval city.

Sleep

There are many accommodation types like campsites, hotels (one, two and three stars), guestroom and many others. The list (not complete) of accommodation is available on the tourist center's website

Learn

Cope

Emergency phone numbers

Go next

Each year, the city organize "the Medieval Party" on May.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, May 03, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.